From fleeting glances to devotees: Building a brand recognition strategy
Brand recognition is a simple enough concept. It’s all about making sure that your target market can see, recognise and remember your company.
After all, it’s pretty hard to cultivate loyalty and engagement from your audience, if they don’t know anything about who you are, or what you do. The only problem is, as the online marketplace grows increasingly crowded, more and more companies are unintentionally flying under the radar.
If you want to step out from behind your cloak of invisibility, and make the most of your marketing agency, London businesses, and companies around the world, need to start implementing careful brand recognition strategies.
With the right plan for brand recognition, you can establish trust, build brand affinity, and make sure that your voice is resonating with your customers. When used correctly, a brand recognition strategy can mean that your product, service, and company is easy to define – even when there’s no sign of your name.
So, how do you go about creating a brand that’s so strong, it no longer needs a title?
Well, first you need to understand what “brand recognition” means. Then, you need some tips from the experts.
What is brand recognition?
A brand is the “soul” of your company. It’s the tone of voice you use to communicate with your customers, the set of expectations that arises when someone hears your name. It’s the decision to choose your company over a competitor, even when the prices are lower elsewhere, and the emotions that your business evokes.
Brands are important, but they’re often overlooked when it comes to business strategy. The first step in brand recognition, is getting to know your brand on a deeper level. Once you understand what you stand for, you can begin to generate design options for logo marks and a visual identities that reflect those ideas.
Unlike brand awareness, which focuses on developing a deeper emotional connection with your audience, “brand recognition” is the first step towards having a professional presence in the world. It’s about using your visual governance, and communication style, to build an identity for your company. Think of “Nike” for instance. The iconic and consistent use of the swoosh logo in all of their branding has been so deeply ingrained into our minds, that we can pick a Nike product out from a mile away.
At its core, your brand recognition strategy should be a component of brand awareness, something that works alongside “brand recall” to transform your company into a household name. With brand recognition, you should be looking for innovative ways to make your company stand out from your competitors, through distinct attributes, design decisions, and marketing efforts.
Planning for brand recognition: Four steps to success
Since brand recognition comes down to differentiation for your brand, you’re going to need a solid plan of action to get you started. No company can truly understand its position in the marketplace without doing a little homework first.
Whether you’re starting your brand recognition strategy from scratch with the help of a marketing agency, or you’re looking into a “rebranding” experience, you’ll need to conduct competitive analysis, consider your user / buyer personas, and work with your entire professional team to create a plan that works for your brand. Here are the four simple steps that should build the bedrock of any brand recognition strategy:
1. Do your research
Research might not be the most exciting thing in the world – but it’s an essential part of any branding activity. As a business owner, you need to know everything there is to know about your company. That means thinking carefully about what makes your business tick, what influences your customers, what your position is in the current market, and what separates you from your competitors. Take the time to consider each of the unique elements that come together to make your brand what it is.
2. Define who you want to be
One of the simplest ways to make brand recognition more successful for your company, is to think of your business as a person, rather than an entity. After all, we’re far more likely to recognise our friends on the street, than we are to recognise a specific piece of plastic. Decide what your customers expect from you, and make a choice about the kind of company you want to be. This will help to inform your personality, and give your voice volume in your industry.
3. Create a plan
Branding isn’t something you should do on a whim. Just like anything in business, your brand recognition efforts will work better if you have a plan in mind. Even if your plan ends up going wrong, at least you’ll have something you can learn from in the future. With the help of a marketing agency, London businesses, and companies around the world can discuss the best “next steps” for their brand as they move from anonymous, to iconic.
4. Manage your visual, and verbal identity
Finally, think about how you’re going to communicate your brand identity to the customers you want to earn recognition from. Your brand recognition strategy should include everything from a guideline to which fonts and colours you’re going to use for your marketing materials, to which words and phrases you might use in your communication strategy. Consistency is key to recognition. Things become familiar the more we see them repeated.
Designing a brand recognition strategy that works
For most companies, a successful brand recognition strategy will begin with making a lot of important decisions. While a marketing agency or branding company can help to present these questions to you, ultimately, only you can make the decision about where you want your company to grow, and how you want it to develop.
1. Who are you?
Obviously, this is quite a complicated question. First of all, you’ll need to think about your name. What kind of name will show the key characteristics of your brand, and help to give context to your brand? Once you have a name picked out, you’ll be able to start thinking about aspects of your visual identity, such as your logo, your colour scheme, and your website design.
Try to think of ways that you can make your visual identity as memorable as possible. With a little luck, you’ll be able to combine it seamlessly with your name for the perfect one-two combo. Think of Target, for instance – the name and the bullseye logo naturally go together to create something that’s easy to recognise, and recall.
2. What’s your story?
Your story links in with the question about who you are. It gives context to what you do by explaining “why” you’ve built your company. Although storytelling has only recently emerged as a powerful marketing tactic, it’s always been a potent aspect of brand recognition. Stories automatically engage our emotions, and it’s our feelings towards companies that make them more memorable.
Think of Blue Apron, for instance. They built their brand around an aim to make home cooking more accessible for busy people. The company could have just said that they were an ingredient or food delivery company – but the fact that they focus on simplicity makes them more memorable. On top of that, a story makes your brand feel more human, and that makes building brand relationships much easier.
3. What are your Values?
The most recognisable brands, are the ones that support something bigger than themselves. We feel more connected to companies that share the same ideas and values that we do, which is why so many companies look for ways to get involved with ethical efforts, sustainability measures, and local communities. Part of what makes Ben and Jerry’s so memorable, is the fact that they’re constantly combining their delicious ice cream, with political statements.
Although a political approach might not be the best option for all brands – as it can easily lead to a brand recognition strategy that causes controversy, there are plenty of ways to show that you stand for something. Give something back to local charities, or use your brand story to tell customers about how you only source parts from ethical traders.
4. How do you delight your customer?
We mentioned towards the beginning of this article that brand recognition focuses on differentiating your brand from your competitors. One of the easiest, and most effective ways to set yourself apart these days, is to provide your audience with an unforgettable experience. Building a recognisable brand is always easier when you can give your customer real experiences and emotions to associate with your company.
For instance, during their brand recognition strategy, Warby Parker placed significant focus on the process of building a better customer experience. By designing their own products from scratch, Warby Parker minimised their licensing fees, and started to deliver less expensive items to their customers. Later, they also created point of sale systems in-store where people could choose their desired frames, enter prescription information, and simply pick up and pay when their glasses were ready.
5. How can you build your own community?
Brand recognition thrives on relationships. The more you can connect with your customers at various points both offline, and online, the more recognisable you become. A great brand recognition strategy should involve asking your marketing agency to help you build a community of users that might assist in shaping your service and product.
For instance, consider DuoLingo online, a company that offers free language classes to its customers. Although the business began with only a few languages, it quickly discovered that it needed some help if it wanted to scale even further. In order to scale in a shorter timeframe, DuoLingo made its technology available to its customers, who then worked to build a range of 24 new languages on the brand’s behalf!
6. How do you offer value?
If you want your customers to recognise your brand instantly, then you need to make sure that you’re constantly offering them a consistent level of value. Whether that value comes from great online content, incredible products, or low prices is up to you. However, it’s much easier to establish loyalty if your customers appreciate what you’re giving them.
For instance, a great example of a brand that knows how to use value in their brand recognition strategy, is HubSpot. With their regular blogs and news updates, they give marketers and business owners great tips to grow their company. It’s this collection of great information that has made HubSpot such a recognisable company in the online space.
7. Are you consistent?
Last, but not least, consistency is always crucial to any brand recognition strategy. Creating a fantastic logo and choosing the perfect business name is just the beginning for your company. Take some time to think about how you can ensure consistency in everything you do for your brand. For instance, this might mean creating some guidelines that your staff can use when they’re communicating with customers, or designing something new for your business.
Regardless of whether you’re developing a blog post, a website, an online ad, or an experiential marketing stunt, make sure that the key elements for brand recognition are always in place. The more consistently your identity is applied, the more familiar it will become to your customers.
Brand recognition strategy: Tips from a marketing agency
No matter which industry your brand exists in, you want to make sure that your company stands out from the crowd. That’s why marketing agencies in London are often in such high demand. Both online and offline, there are countless ways that you can make it easier for people to understand your company.
The first step to brand recognition, is making your business visible. After all, the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” can apply to marketing too! Here are just some of the ways that you can make sure you’re always in front of your customers.
1. Use your voice with podcasts and video
Podcasts and videos allow you to give a more “human” element to your brand recognition strategy because they feel more like face-to-face interactions with your customers. At the same time, by expanding the selection of content you put out into the world, you can also build your authority as an expert in your niche, and make your company appear more trustworthy.
2. Try a branded blog
One of the simplest, yet most effective ways to boost brand recognition, is with industry-leading blog posts. Focus on delivering content that’s engaging and valuable, and cover the topics that your customers most want to hear about. By creating content with personality and intrigue, you can start to show your value to your customers, so that they begin to associate you with more positive attributes.
3. Reach out to influencers
If you’re worried about gaining traction for your brand recognition strategy, one easy solution is to reach out to people who have already earned the attention and respect of your target audience. Influencers can be a great way to give your social media strategies more impact, while ensuring that you’re conveying the right messages about your company. Sometimes, a shout out from someone special can be enough to make your brand instantly more memorable.
4. Use social networks wisely
These days, it’s hard to get much done in the world of marketing without a solid social media strategy. That’s probably why most marketing agency professionals will tell you that you need to figure out where your customers spend their time online, before you begin your campaign. Of course, you need to make sure that you’re using your social plans properly if you want them to have the best effect. Figure out which platforms and methods are most relevant to the brand image you’re trying to create. Your position on the right social channels should help to boost your brand recognition strategy.
5. Spend money now and again
There are countless ways that you can improve brand recognition online for free – but that doesn’t mean you should only ever use those options. Sometimes, paid campaigns can be a great way to give your efforts the boost they really need. Look at Facebook advertising for instance. While posting your latest blog on a Facebook status is a start to boosting awareness, you can reach out to thousands of new customers by promoting your ad through a paid campaign. On top of that, with the right platforms, you can refine your campaign efforts so you’re targeting specific age groups and demographics. This means that you can make your brand recognition strategy specific to the right customers.
6. Build your email lists
Email marketing campaigns are often overlooked as an old-fashioned approach to brand recognition. However, the truth is that they offer value to every element of your branding strategy. Emails are a great way to nurture leads for your customers, and even grab the attention of people who don’t know much about you yet. You can use your email lists to send out targeted emails to your audience that help to define your brand. In fact, you can even automate your email lists to make sure that you’re always reminding your customers of who you are, and what you do.
7. Optimise everything
Finally, when it comes to making your brand recognition efforts work, it’s crucial to make sure that you’re being cautious in everything you do. Ultimately, your brand recognition strategy is your solution for making sure that people can identify you wherever you are. If they’re recognising you for all the wrong reasons, you could end up with a reputation that’s difficult to shake.
To make sure you’re making the right impression on your audience, ensure that every link, every page, and every image on your website, as well as the content you share through every other online and offline channel, is optimised. Use the best quality images, a distinct tone of voice, and professional marketing agency techniques to show your brand off as a credible entity.
Let your brand recognition plan evolve
Your brand is like the plain car in a prestige car showroom – it wants to be noticed.
A brand recognition strategy can be your way to make sure that the most important elements of your brand shine through consistently in everything you do. By combining your story, your brand communication strategy, the user experience, and your visual identity, you can create a foundation for your company that inspires loyalty and growth for the future. It’s these little brand recognition elements that come together to give your company the staying power it needs to become a household name.
Sometimes, you might find that you need to work with the experts to try different combinations of strategies to enhance awareness and establish loyalty. However, you should always keep a close focus on what you believe matters most to your brand. Brand recognition might be just one element of brand awareness, but it’s also the foundation that you can use to deliver unforgettable experiences over the years.
Above all else, make sure that your brand recognition strategies remain consistent in everything you do. That means that your logo, your brand name, your communication strategies, and even your sales efforts should all feel like a natural extension of your company. Your customers should know that they’re interacting with you, before they ever get the chance to see your logo or brand name.
The cohesive elements of your brand will usually evolve with time, but the core aspects will be the things that you reinforce many times over, to ensure they stick within the minds of your customer.
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